Nebraska Security Deposit Returns and Deductions

Nebraska Security Deposit Returns and Deductions

Last Updated: January 26, 2024 by Phil Ahn

Quick Facts Answer
Acceptable Deductions Unpaid rent, utilities, and late fees

Costs of damage

Costs due to a breach of lease

Cleaning costs

Return Deadline 14 days
Itemized Deductions Required
Penalty for Late Return Amount Due + 2x Deposit or 1 Month’s Rent + Court Costs + Attorneys’ Fees

For laws on security deposit collections and holdings in Nebraska, click here.

Security Deposit Deductions in Nebraska

In Nebraska, the following can be deducted from security deposits:

  • Unpaid rent, utilities, and late fees
  • Costs of damage excluding normal wear and tear
  • Costs due to a breach of the lease agreement
  • Cleaning costs

Most states, such as Nebraska, do not have a legal limit on how much a landlord can charge for damages except that the charges must be reasonable.

If the cost of the damages exceeds the amount of the security deposit, landlords are entitled to seek additional damages from the former tenant.

What is Considered Normal Wear and Tear in Nebraska?

“Normal wear and tear” is deterioration that occurs naturally as a result of the tenant using the property as it was designed to be used.

Examples include:

  • Gently worn carpets
  • Lightly scratched glass
  • Faded paint and flooring
  • Lightly dirtied grout
  • Loose door handles
  • Stained bath fixtures

Damage” means destruction to the rental unit that occurs because of abuse or negligence by a tenant during the course of the tenancy.

Examples include:

  • Heavily stained, burned, or torn carpets
  • Broken tiles or windows
  • Holes in the wall
  • Missing fixtures

Can the Landlord Charge for Replacing the Carpet in Nebraska?

Landlords can charge for replacing the carpet if it is damaged beyond normal wear and tear.


A carpet that is slightly discolored or gently worn will be considered normal wear and tear. A carpet with visible stains, major discoloration and rips will be considered excessively damaged.

Can the Landlord Charge for Nail Holes in Nebraska?

Landlords in Nebraska can charge a tenant for nail holes if they damage the walls in a way that is not a result of ordinary enjoyment of the rental unit.

Tenants have the right to use the walls within their unit in a reasonable way. This includes inserting small nails or thumbtacks to hang posters or pictures.

However, large holes from drilling, multiple nail holes, large nail holes, and holes made for hanging heavier things may be considered damage and thus, chargeable to the tenant.

Can the Landlord Charge a Cleaning Fee in Nebraska?

Nebraska law allows landlords to charge for cleaning costs limited to bringing the residence back to its original condition at the start of the lease term, except for normal wear and tear.

Can the Landlord Charge for Painting in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, landlords can charge for painting, except for normal wear and tear. For example, if the tenant:

  • Causes damage beyond normal wear and tear
  • Repaints the wall but is not permitted to do so under the lease agreement
  • Repaints the wall in an unprofessional way

Ordinary wear includes:

  • Minor scrapes from daily use
  • Fading due to sunlight
  • Minor cracks in the original paint

Landlords can charge for repainting if the damage is not the result of normal use. This includes stains, large or deep scratches, and water damage.

Security Deposit Returns in Nebraska

Landlords must return a security deposit by mail or hand-delivery with an itemized statement of deductions, if any, to the tenant’s forwarding address no later than 14 days after the lease term ends.

How Long Do Landlords Have to Return Security Deposits in Nebraska?

Nebraska landlords have 14 days after the lease term ends to return any unused portion of the security deposit.

Do Landlords Owe Interest on Security Deposits in Nebraska?

Unlike in some states, such as New Jersey, landlords in Nebraska do not owe interest on security deposits.

How Do Landlords Give Notice in Nebraska?

Written notice must be mailed or hand-delivered to the tenant’s forwarding address and must include the amount of the security deposit due, if any, to the tenant, plus an itemized statement of deductions.

If the tenant does not provide a forwarding address or delivery instructions, the landlord must send the written notice and balance of the security deposit, if any, to the tenant’s last known address by first-class mail.

If the security deposit is returned as undeliverable or otherwise unclaimed by the tenant after one year, it must be reported to the State Treasurer as unclaimed property.

Can a Security Deposit Be Used for Last Month’s Rent in Nebraska?

Nebraska law does not forbid the security deposit from being used for any outstanding rent.

Landlords can include a provision in the lease agreement that the security deposit cannot be used for the last month’s rent until the tenant vacates the rental unit.

Security Deposit Disputes in Nebraska

If landlords do not return the security deposit within the 14-day period, tenants can file for the return of the amount wrongfully withheld in court plus damages up toone month’s rent or twice the amount of the deposit, whichever is less, plus court costs and attorneys’ fees.

Tenants can also take legal action against a landlord for:

  • Failure to provide written notice when deductions are made
  • Unreasonable deductions

How Can Tenants File a Dispute for a Security Deposit in Nebraska?

If a landlord fails to return the security deposit, the tenant can file a dispute in Small Claims Court if the amount of damages is less than $3,900. If the amount is greater, the tenant must file a civil case in County Court.

A small claims case must be filed within 4 or 5 years depending on whether the lease agreement was oral or written. An attorney is not required or permitted except to perform limited court functions. Cases are filed in the Small Claims Court for the county where the property is located or where the defendant lives or works. The filing fee is $29.